On 15 November 2019, the Dean of Theology and Religion at the University of Pretoria, Prof Jerry Pillay, honoured several 2019 graduates for their exceptional achievement while enrolled as candidates in the various degree programmes offered by the Faculty. Counted among their ranks were not only former undergraduate, but also postgraduate students, all of whom had at least one common characteristic, namely their incredible success in scoring an average of over seventy-five percent in all the modules undertaken for every year of their academic studies.
Held in the auditorium of the Merensky Library on UP’s Hatfield Campus, the award ceremony itself was an afternoon to remember, complete with moving speeches from award recipients, top of the range catering from TUKS Res and medals of recognition handed out only to the most distinguished guests present. Prof Jaco Beyers, serving as the master of ceremonies on behalf of the Teaching and Learning committee, ensured the entire event proceeded smoothly, while not neglecting the opportunity to also pause and reflect on its true significance.
Three, four or even more years of university education is no small undertaking, so earning sufficient marks to merely pass one’s classes and reach the minimum of requirements for any given degree is of great significance. How much more noteworthy, then, is the accomplishment of those young men and women that rise to the top among their peers, mastering the course material with which they have been presented with such obvious distinction.
With graduates such as these, the future of Theology and Religion as an intellectual discipline is in good hands, as are the churches, schools and other faith-based organizations these newly minted UP alumni have been deployed to lead.